26 May The Pros and Cons of Going 5G Wireless
The world is moving, and it is moving fast. Current technology allows us to do so many things we couldn’t really even imagine a few years ago. Every year, the best big name tech companies always seem to come up with something that seemingly outshines what they, and other competitors, had the year prior. This year is no exception. We have all heard talks about the rumored 5G wireless for a while now, but what exactly is it? And how does it differ from the modern day 4G network that we have all come to know and love? What are the 5G pros and cons?
As reliable as 4G, in the realm of technology, there is always room for improvement! 5G stands for the 5th generation, and is basically the successor of our beloved 4G network.
Nowadays, everything is online; smart homes are all the rage in the western market and are controlled by Artificial Intelligence. What was once considered Bluetooth speakers can now connect to your homes and control the air conditioning. Automated temperature systems sync seamlessly with everything else. And even smart refrigerators have made a surprising debut in recent years! Most of these you can connect and control through your smartphone.
As such, it is not surprising to say that mobile devices are the ones who will reap the most obvious benefits when the world adapts the 5G network. In theory, it should offer an experience close to a wired network. Considering all these facts, we can all agree that connectivity is the next big thing. Events like Mobile World Congress, Google IO, and other similar spectacles seem to point to a future that isn’t too distant wherein technology becomes even more integrated into our lives than they already currently are.
First things first, what exactly do we know about the 5G wireless network at the moment? What are the 5G pros and cons that one needs to know? Not a whole lot, honestly. Let’s break down all the information we have so far.
Right now, we know the 5G technology won’t be available right now, and that its release to the public is set on 2020.
That is a long time from now, considering how fast technology evolves. Ever since mobile devices were introduced, countless hours and manpower has been used to continue to evolve that technology. Year by year we seek out the latest, greatest, fastest, and most efficient piece of technology. However, as with all things, there are some 5G pros and cons. Some are deliberate and obvious, while some may be more subtle.
Pro – Fit more things inside the same amount of space.
Thanks to the wonders of modern day engineering, many things that required a large physical space just a few years shy of its introduction can now fit in a smaller package. Not only does this leave a smaller physical footprint, it allows us to fit more things inside the same amount of space. In order to stay wireless, 4G networks require large towers to be strategically scattered every few miles. This ensures that they can communicate with each other.
According to Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint, 5G requires the massive deployment of small cell technology to enable the network to handle the exponential growth of data transmission. This requires the data to be denser, and therefore requires it to fit in a smaller space more efficiently.
Pro – 5G technology will make use of high frequency signals in comparison to the lower frequency signals. That are usually used in other generations.
Con – Require different kinds of frequencies.
But in real life, it’s a bit more complicated than that. They will include a mix of different types of frequencies from different carriers. There is a catch, though. How these will all be stitched together still remains a work in progress. Also, higher frequency signals simply cannot travel as far as lower frequency signals.
It works in the same way that sprinting gets you to a point faster, but walking gets you farther overall. Multiple input and output antennas will have to be spread out. Think of these as “checkpoints” for the signal. How does this translate to a real life scenario?
Pro – One device for all.
Instead of an obtrusive tower every few miles even in rural areas, a neighborhood may be blanketed in smaller, more subtle box sized cells. That may be mounted on things that already take up space in that neighborhood. Such as street lights and other public infrastructures. Not only does this look better, but having more than one source is meant to make data transfer speeds more efficient. As the cellular technologies have to travel less between one point to another.
Con- Setup of multiple access points for several story buildings.
But what about private institutions, say, like multiple story building? Well, multiple points will have to be set up in the building as well, in order to maintain a stable connection. It’s hard to complain about the number of access points we will require when we consider what we’re getting in return. It is a small price to pay for the benefits!
So why should you consider moving to 5G wireless? We already have reliable service providers like Spectrum available at websites like xyzies.com to satiate all our internet needs, right? 5G wireless is not meant to replace wired connections at all. It is simply meant to supplement it.
To normal consumers, the answer is always going to be speed. We have already heard claims where 5G internet is, at least theoretically, supposed to reach 10x the speed of what we currently have in our 4G networks. Now, an important thing to keep in mind is that 5G wireless is unlike any other generations that have preceded it.
Pro – High Speed Internet.
It isn’t simply 1 aspect that they improved, but a mix of different studies and frequencies that will radically change how mobile devices function in terms of connectivity. This will mean a significant boost in speed. That translates to things like downloading data. What should have take minutes to download can be done so now in seconds.
Pro – Minimal to No latency issues.
Decreased latency is also a welcome feature 5G wireless is supposedly bringing to the table. Some have even claimed that the latency is almost zero, which means there are virtually no delays when relaying information. For gamers and video buffs, this is truly heaven-sent innovation with effects they will immediately feel. You can compare it in terms of speed to Google Fiber’s fixed line connections.
Con – 5G Wireless can be a bit pricey.
Now, don’t go cancelling your data plans and 4G networks just yet! Now that we’ve talked about why you should move to 5G mobile internet, let’s talk about some of the reasons why you may not want to jump ship just yet. The first and most obvious is simple: the price. Unfortunately, as of this writing, none of the carriers have decided to disclose their pricing.
However, it is safe to assume that the latest and greatest will always be pricier. With private companies becoming more bold in terms of pricing, we can expect carriers to have 5G wireless priced above what we are currently used to, at least until the market adjusts this new entry.
Not too long ago, a dial-up connection at home was considered a luxury, and it was priced like it as well! Another problem is what all early adopters of a certain product or service face: the carriers that offer it will still be ironing out the kinks. Early adopters could run into some unforeseen problems nobody really expected was coming. People who opt to avail of 5G wireless upon its immediate release may face stability or connection issues at first.
Con – Not readily available to most areas (yet).
Remember how we talked about those small box-sized access points required? The speed may vary depending on where you live. Densely populated areas are expected to have a good amount of those, but what about lesser populated areas? They will probably have less access points. However, the lower number of people using it may even out the speed overall. Only time will tell for sure. Like with the previous generations, it will vary.
Carriers may not welcome all the requirements with open arms immediately due to the drastic changes required, but make no mistake, it is just a matter of time. For this reason alone, some people think 4G may advance alongside 5G internet.
Con – Device Compatibility.
A less obvious problem is your mobile phone’s compatibility with the 5G technology. Sure, the absolute bleeding edge of smartphone technology may make sure their flagship devices are compatible with the new 5G wireless and frequencies, but what about the rest of the devices? Some people may find themselves making the switch, only to realize in horror that their smartphones cap off with 4G.
Even if your phone is compatible, another thing you may want to consider is the processing power and battery life of your device. With data processing and downloading that quickly, it will definitely take a toll on your device. After all, early tests from these companies may yield different results in real-life situations.
The International Telecommunication Union has been working on 5G wireless for a while now, as early as 2012 in fact. 2020 seems like a long time from now, and 5G wireless as we know it now could be completely different from the final product they plan to release. Maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe, the wait will be worth it after all.